Monday, July 30, 2007

The Week's Best, 30 July 2007

I'm taking a few days' vacation, but I'm never too busy to provide The Week's Best for PR Students. This week includes a WB first: Stephen Davies gets the nod not once, but twice.

Not So Random Observations: Nikon and alli, Susan Getgood
1 Million Impressions in a Week: 5 Lessons in Getting Quoted, Linked, & Discussed, Rohit Bhargava
All Aboard to the YouTube Debate! Will Republicans Jump on the Train?, Kaitlyn Wilkins
Tips on Creating a Successful Presentation, Stephen Davies
SMNR Update, Stephen Davies
Controlling Your Public Relations Career, Paul Cushing (via IndiaPRBlog)
PowerWomen and the Power 150: Women Make Up only 13 percent of Top Bloggers, Kami Huyse

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Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Meet the Teacher: Richard Bailey

At the urging of the Friendly Ghost, I've compiled a list of PR educator-bloggers (now featured on my blog roll). The good news is that I found quite a few more than last time I looked -- 17 by my count, but I'm sure there are more (especially those not in English). The bad news is that I don't know a lot of these people! So I decided to institute a new feature on Teaching PR, "Meet the Teacher."

My first interview is with Richard Bailey of Leeds Metropolitan University in the UK. Richard's PR Studies was one of the first PR educator blogs I found, and it remains one of my favorite (I guess I should say "favourite".) Here are Richard's answers to a few of my questions.

Q. How and when did you first get interested in blogging? What is the purpose of your blog? Are you using any other social media?
It was pure opportunism. I was working as a freelance PR consultant and professional trainer around the start of the new millennium (also the time the dot com bubble burst - with the inevitable downturn about to follow). So I was in need of a personal website, had some time on my hands - and was in need to learning some new skills myself. I then gained a broadband connection to my home office and felt the need to make use of all this 'free' time online. I didn't get on with Blogger and wasn't aware of other blogging or content management software at the time. So I created my own home-coded website with blog-like characteristics (it was at though it's no longer live and I've not kept up the domain name.) This was in 2001.

By 2003 I'd taken a full-time lecturing job so registered the domain and subscribed to Typepad for my blog. It was envisaged as a group blog for our 12-strong public relations teaching team but there's something solitary and individualistic about blogging so it reverted to being a personal site. This is my current blog.

It's purpose is what it always was: to keep me learning. But it's no longer technology that I'm learning about, but ideas. (Interestingly, mine was never a blog about blogs; it was always meant to be a blog about public relations ideas and practice.)

We're now in need of a faculty web presence to reflect the breadth of our teaching, consultancy and research so the next evolution should be to embed the blog into a content management system.

Yes, I've explored other social media applications, but haven't found myself an enthusiastic participant of any until Facebook opened its doors this year. Now all of those disparate applications (eg Twitter, tagging, FlickR etc etc) seem to make sense withing a social networking site with critical mass.

Q. Tell us a little about your school and how PR is taught there.
As related in Jacquie L'Etang's Public Relations in Britain, the course at Leeds Metroplitan University (then Leeds Polytechnic) was one of the pioneering undergraduate programs in the UK. We're now one of the largest in terms of faculty and student numbers. We even have two professors of public relations (the most senior academic position) in Anne Gregory and Ralph Tench.

Where we differ from some other courses in the UK, and most, I believe, in the US is that we're situated in a business school, not within journalism or media studies. So our students gain a broader business and marketing education alongside theory and practice modules. All undergraduates complete a dissertation and around half of our cohort (around 60 this coming academic year) take a paid industrial placement as part of the course.

Back to social media: we aim to embed this into the curriculum rather than to teach it as a distinctive element. (After all, no one would consider teaching 'telephone public relations' would they?) So we're introducing electronic and online versions of the practice portfolios which have for a long time been a distinctive part of our course. I'm happy to acknowledge Robert French's pioneering work on online portfolios at Auburn as an inspiration.

Q. Do you have any advice for other PR educators who are considering starting a blog or getting involved in social media?
Blogs are good places for reflection and learning; they're also famously good for Google searches, so I'm surprised that there aren't more educators online. (In a more contentious mood, I've predicted that the process of online debate might even replace the more ponderous process of academic peer review. Though there's no evidence of this happening yet, we're certainly seeing blogs and online sources cited in 'serious' academic texts. I'm a huge fan of Wikipedia - though again I may be a solitary voice among my colleagues in this.)

The downsides are very apparent too. Blogging is an instant (though not disposable) medium. This poses pressures that many educators and academics are unprepared for. What if they can't keep up the momentum (my problem this year)? What if they live to regret their off-the-cuff remarks? But the flip side is how can we teach something we've no experience of?

The dangers for students and blogs are even more apparent. We've seen it with blogs and now with Facebook. There's a blurring of the boundary between public and private - but this makes it a fascinating time to be an educator, and it's what keeps me going.

Q. You also administer the PR Books wiki. Is that difficult? How is it going?
Similar story. I needed to do before I felt able to comment or to teach, so I started last summer. As a collaborative exercise (the USP of a wiki) it's a failure. But as an edited site it saves me time - so I aim to keep it going. Blogs emphasise the new and the up-to-date; I find the wiki a useful repository for static data that doesn't need to change quite so often.

Q. One of my favorite things about your blog is that you occasionally review books to save a little time for the rest of us. How do you decide which ones to review? What has the response been?
I'd started book reviewing on my old site and noted how, in an early example of the rise of social media, I was being quoted by some publishers (and how I was sent review copies by others).

Reading books is an essential part of this role, so I like to keep ahead of the field where possible. I also know that there are so many inquiring and intelligent people among the practitioner community who may not have my time or access to new books so I don't limit myself to academic texts. But my reviews are sporadic: it's entirely based on what's new and what interests me at the time.

It's now time I wrote something, and in keeping with my ethos, I've already stated that I'm working on a social media project aimed at introducing public relations to beginners. They're tomorrow's students and practitioners...

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Monday, July 23, 2007

The Week's Best, 23 July 2007

Blog Comments Can Build Your Personal Brand, Krishna De
Corporate Blogging 101: 10 Easy Steps to Get a Corporate Blog Up and Running, Mario Sundar
(via Chris Thilk)
The Transparent Generation Goes to College, Maybe: Schools Conduct Online Background Checks to Decide Student Applications, Steven Silvers
Now That You're Graduated... Which Social Network Tool Should You Use?, Kelli Matthews
Sock Puppets Never Prosper--Whole Foods and "Rehodeb", Paull Young
PRobecast #25, Doug Haslam, Rob Capra, Sandy Kalik (via Sarah Wurrey)

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Thursday, July 19, 2007

AEJMC presentations on Arthur W. Page

I've been working on a book about Arthur Page off and on for a number of years, and now that my daughter is safely ensconced in full-time daycare, I'm back at it. I wrote two papers on Page that have been accepted for presentation at the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication meeting in Washington, D.C., in August. I've prepared slide shows on both, so if anybody out there has a burning interest in Mr. Page, have at it (FYI students: no, you can't cite these slide shows as academic sources).

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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Client relations tips for PR newbies

This morning I listened to an Inside PR podcast in which Terry and David discussed client relations, specifically the importance of getting off to a good start with a new client. Although some of the things they mentioned, like deciding how often and how to report to the client, are the responsibilities of upper-level employees, even PR newbies need to understand client relations.

Here are a few tips on ways entry-level PR staffers can help build good client relations, based on conversations I’ve had with former students who are now working at agencies.

1. Sometimes you might get annoyed because a client expects you to drop everything and work on their account. Too bad. The client’s calendar is just as packed as yours.

2. Don’t promise something you can’t deliver, even if it’s just returning a call at a certain time.

3. Attitude is everything. Be sure they know you appreciate them.

4. Know your client’s audience and how to talk to them, and make sure your client knows that you know.

5. Learn what keeps them up at night, and figure out how you can help.

Anyone else want to add to the list?

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Monday, July 16, 2007

I enter the world of social networking

One of my summer projects was to join the rest of the world on social networking sites like LinkedIn and MyRagan. Delighted to notice today that the latter has a PR Educators group started by my friend Suzanne Horsley, now at the University of Utah, and featuring such PR educator/blogger luminaries as Bill Sledzik, Gary Schlee, and Tim Penning. It doesn't look like they're too active lately, but then again, it is summer.


The Week's Best, 16 July 2007

Personal Branding for Students and Young Professionals, Forward Podcast
Content: King or Not?, Gary Schlee
Earn Comments for Your Clients' Blogs the Organic Way, Shel Holtz
Some Ammunition for PR Pros to Suggest Social Media Campaigns to Clients, Richard Millington
Using Delicious in Public Relations, Christie Goodman
Managing Online PR with Modern Management Techniques, David Phillips
Blogging Policy Examples, Charlene Li

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Friday, July 13, 2007

PR/social media conference update

Several more presenters have agreed to attend Grady's PR and social media conference: Walter Carl of Northeastern University; Paull Young of Converseon (he'll discuss the Forward blog and podcast); Mike Neumeier of Arketi; and Katie Paine of KD Paine & Partners.

A couple more big names to come....

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Monday, July 09, 2007

PRWeek Student of the Year competition

Just received notice that the PRWeek/Hill and Knowlton Student of the Year competition information has been released. The client this year is Youth Venture.

I've never worked with a student on this before, but following on the success of our Bateman team last year, maybe this will be the year. :-)

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The Week's Best, 9 July 2007

Goodness Gracious, 25+ Great New Media Books, Geoff Livingston
Forward Podcast 26: A Tour of the PR Podosphere, Paull Young and Luke Armour
Reputation Foodies, Leslie Gaines-Ross
10 Reasons Facebook Has Jumped the Shark, Chris Clarke
The 4 Elements to Search Reputation Management, John Bell
Upload Once and Your Video Is Everywhere, Shel Holtz

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Friday, July 06, 2007

Grady's PR/social media conference

An update on the conference I announced last week: Josh Hallett and Constantin Basturea will be presenters, and Jay Bernhardt, Director of the National Center for Health Marketing at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has tentatively agreed to speak on social media and health promotion. A few other invitations are still outstanding, but I'm very excited about the lineup we're going to be able to offer.

Reminder: to add your name to the conference mailing list, send a message to

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Monday, July 02, 2007

The Week's Best for PR Students, 2 July 2007

Is Going Green the Best for PR?, Lauren Vargas
Summer 2007 Class PR Blogs, Robert French
Inside PR #65, podcast with a discussion on PR education
Time to Download some PR Goodies, IndiaPRblog
Who Are the Media?, Adam Denison

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"More important than the curriculum is the question of the methods of teaching and the spirit in which the teaching is given" --Bertrand Russell

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